Amazon is one of the world’s largest corporations, with an aggressive and charismatic agenda to reshape the future. Amazon, by some estimates, provides key services to half the internet (including, probably, Substack), and in is the world’s largest retailer. But the American firm is also aggressively “disrupting” the fields of logistics, robotics, workplace and supply-chain surveillance and more. From food to gig work, from healthcare to film and TV, Amazon’s empire is vast. While the company’s founder has made headlines by joining the dispicable billionaire space-race, on the proverbial shop floors workers are paying the price. Workers are rising up, unionizing and organizing for their rights, and civil society coalitions are forming to Make Amazon Pay. But what do rank-and-file workers themselves think of the future they are being forced to create at their expense, for someone else’s benefit? Can workers reclaim not only their dignity and power, but their right to determine our collective future?
We want to find out!
In 2021, we organized a little club for rank-and-file Amazon workers to watch and speculative/science fiction (SF) TV and film (and play video games) and discuss them. We wrote about it, and the aims of the of the broader project, here:
- “From the Belly of the Beast: Amazon workers, sci-fi and the space between utopia and disaster” in The Sociological Review Magazine.
- “Is Amazon the Borg? We Asked Their Workers” in The Los Angeles Review of Books
- “Recasting the future with Amazon workers” in the Routledge Handbook of Creative Futures
Today, we are launching recruitment for the next phase of the project, a paid SF writing group for rank-and-file Amazon workers!
I’m thrilled to be working with Xenia Benivolski and Graeme Webb on this project, and to welcome Sarah Olutola and Stella Lawson to our team!
More information is below, and on our website, and I’d be very grateful if you could share it with any current or former Amazon workers you know.
Worker as Futurist
- Would you like to be paid to write speculative or science fiction?
- Are you a current or former Amazon Worker?
- Apply to join our online workshop!
What do Amazon workers think about the future?
The Worker As Futurist project is seeking 12 current or former Amazon workers to join an online writers workshop from February to July, 2023.
- Get paid to participate in six skill- and knowledge-building sessions on zoom, February-April (every Tuesday at 12-noon Eastern)
- Work with professional writing teachers and editors to develop a short story about “the world after Amazon” in April and May
- See your work published in a book and possibly in magazines
- Get coaching and assistance to publish your other writing
Who can participate?
- Open to both new and experienced writers
- Open to unpublished, self-published and published writers
- Open to anyone who works for or whose income primarily depends on Amazon ( including warehouse workers, MTurkers, subcontracted delivery drivers, contract workers, etc), but NOT to management.
- All online, you can be located anywhere in the worldYou have to have to be able to write very well in English
- We are not in any way and will never be affiliated with Amazon
- We’ll protect your privacy and you can use a fake name.
- We are a research and community-building project based at a Canadian public university, funded entirely by public funds. Our goal is to encourage the imagination.
Please visit reimaginingvalue.ca/WAF to learn more and fill out an application (including sending us a 1-page story) by February 10.